Oh, and presumably more than a few cyclists. As mentioned earlier in the week, Emilia is a major classic of the just-below-monumental status. Part of this is me carrying on, and part of this is the 1.HC rating, the UCI's highest designation for a race that it doesn't include in the World Tour (a thoroughly arbitrary distinction, except to the teams).
Another part is the startlist. Let's face it, not everyone can win Lombardia. In fact, if you're not named Cunego or Gilbert, chances are you're cooked. So Emilia is a pretty important palmare. It's also one for the pure climbers. The conclusion is the San Luca ascent, where the pure climbers can unleash hell and then hand their bike to a soigneur. Unlike Lombardia or Liege, where the race is won by climbing, descending, and time-trialling to the line. I.e., by Gilbert. Who's not coming to Emilia. Nor is his team. Because it's not a World Tour race. Goddammit...
Yesterday's Coppa Sabatini was snared from Davide Rebellin's grasp by Enrico Battaglin, distant nephew of the bike-maker and former Vuelta winner Giovanni Battaglin. So Rebellin, a potential (and not especially popular) winner is maybe a step slow. Good thing, because there's a pretty meaty field on hand. Among the pure climbers and explosive uphillers are Dan Martin (2nd last year), Bauke Mollema and a flotilla of climbers subbing at Rabo for defending champ Robert Gesink, Thomas Lofkvist, Jakob Fuglsang (3rd and 2nd in '09), and a solid Katusha squad of J-Rod, Dani Moreno and Danilo DiLuca. Oh, and more Italians: Giovanni Visconti has to like his chances against a thinner than usual squad. Domenico Pozzovivo usually hangs around for the end. No Michele Scarponi, or so says Cycling Fever, which is disappointing.
OK, who ya got?